During the early days of SHAPE it became evident that to address issues of pastoral health at the exclusion of addressing issues of congregational health would ultimately lead to a failure to transform the life and ministry of the Church of God. The disparity between health and unhealth at that level of relationship would certainly prove to be a hindrance to the goals of SHAPE. The task then became to adapt the principles and practices of SHAPE for the lay leaders of local congregations. That task has reached its initial stage and SHARE—Sustaining Health And Relational Excellence—is being introduced to a limited number of congregations throughout the United States to assess it value and strengthen its ministry. SHARE will initially be provided only to pastors who have experienced SHAPE and understand the theology, practices, and intent of the SHAPE journey.
Here is a SHARE testimonial from Ryan Kellam, worship and youth pastor at Pendleton Church of God, Pendleton, Indiana:
Our church leadership team was disconnected and becoming stagnant. We didn’t even realize this until we began talking about implementing the SHARE program. The program has encouraged healthy communication, and now it is unbelievable how the energy level has increased. With a focus on Christ’s kingdom, we are witnessing a healthy vitalization at the core of our congregation.
SHARE is divided into two distinct experiences:
1. The Theology and Practices of SHARE. This initial phase will introduce congregational leaders to the same relational theology and practices of the SHAPE journey with only a few minor adjustments. The SHARE manual has added content that will more fully describe the intent of a relational theology for the life of the church. This new focus can be summarized in the following areas:
- The development of an intentionally focused community of growth and maturing into the fullness of Christ.
- The development of a discipling environment.
- The experience of a common set of experiences, practices, and resources that help establish parameters for a healthy, effective leadership team.
- The development of a personal/corporate plan of growth and development. Healthy leaders and missionally effective congregations intentionally plan to be healthy.
2. An Intentional, Specific Health Plan for the Congregation. Beyond the common experiences of SHAPE and SHARE that lead to a healthy community, there are specific needs to be addressed in the life of every congregation. The intent of SHARE is to provide every pastor and leadership team with exercises, information, and resources that can enable each team to develop a training program that best fits their needs at any given time. Currently eight areas of congregational life have been identified and resources gathered. The resource list will most certainly expand prior to the launch of SHARE.
The current plan is to make SHARE available to SHAPE pastors in 2013.